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Russia calls on West to use its sway to discipline Jabhat al-Nusra

February 19, 16:02 UTC+3

According to the Russian top diplomat, Jabhat al-Nusra is not merely present in Eastern Ghouta but keeps on attacking civil facilities and Damascus’ dwelling quarters

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MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Moscow calls on Western powers having influence on Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) to discipline it, otherwise it would be exterminated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

"The experience gained in Aleppo, when an agreement was reached with militants on their organized exodus, can be used in Eastern Ghouta. It took enormous effort to reach agreements on medical evacuation, first of all, of children and people needing emergency medical assistance. But subsequent efforts to organize large-scale evacuation of civilians from that area encountered Jabhat al-Nusra’s refusal as it seeks to keep these people as a human shield," he said.

According to the Russian top diplomat, Jabhat al-Nusra is not merely present there but keeps on attacking civil facilities and Damascus’ dwelling quarters. "The Russian embassy was a target for such attacks several time. Not long ago, the building of Russia’s trade mission was severely damaged in such an attack," Lavrov recalled.

"That is why we are asking our Western colleagues, who have influence of Jabhat al-Nusra, to take effort to discipline this structure, as far as resolution of humanitarian problems is concerned, otherwise it is to be exterminated," he stressed and called to tale all possible measures to spare civilian population and "minimize these risks."

Moreover, he noted, the topic of "humanitarian problems in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib is being stoked" at the United Nations. "Various initiatives, including at the United Nations Security Council, call on the Syrian government army to stop its offensive there. One initiative even provides for at least a month’s pause to calm down the situation and deliver humanitarian aid," he said.

"The problem is that in Idlib and in Eastern Ghouta, Jabhat al-Nusra, declared a terrorist organization by the UN Security Council, runs the show. And under all agreements, anti-terror efforts cannot be restricted by anything," Lavrov said. "We find it very worrisome that in fact only the Syrian army and the Russian aerospace group that supports it are trying to suppress this terrorist wing of Al-Qaeda (outlawed in Russia) and those collaborating with it."

"All the calls to stop the offensive of the Syrian army that are accompanied by turning down our initiatives to provide guarantees that Janhat al-Nusra also stops, all these calls seem to be geared - and I have no other view of the situation - to spare Jabhat al-Nusra again," the Russian minister added.

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